UFC On FOX 16 takes place tomorrow night in Chicago and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao
I’m definitely looking forward to this one to see if Dillashaw’s previous victory over Barao really was just a one-off, or if he just has the former long-time unbeaten champion’s number. I am leaning more towards the latter, though I do at least partially buy into the idea that Barao was really thrown off his game after getting rocked by an early punch in their initial encounter.
With that in mind I’d expect a better showing from Barao this time around, but he’s got his work cut out for him. As talented and proven a striker as he is, Dillashaw has evolved tremendously on the feet under Duane Ludwig’s tutelage with terrific movement, speed and crisp combinations reminiscent of former champ Dominick Cruz. Barao might have bigger power in his strikes, but I think he loses out in the speed battle and that could be crucial on Saturday night.
Giving more confidence to the idea of favoring Dillashaw however is the fact that he also has an excellent foundation in wrestling too, so whether he wants to catch Barao unawares by utilizing that early in their rematch, keep it in his back pocket to fall back on if the striking battle doesn’t go according to plan, or just mix things up throughout the fight, that’s going to give him an edge.
I’d give Dillashaw the cardio edge and he’ll probably need to use that as I think this one will go the distance this time, with Dillashaw retaining his title based on the judges scorecards.
TJ Dillashaw to win by decision.
Jessica Eye vs. Miesha Tate
There’s a lot at stake in the co-main event pairing of top 5 ranked female bantamweights with the winner expected to be Ronda Rousey’s next opponent. That’s perhaps a sign that the UFC are starting to run low on options for the champion since Tate’s already lost to her twice and Eye is only 1-1 (+1nc) in the UFC to date, but nonetheless, this is still a good fight.
Tate is the more well-rounded of the two, though really she’s at her best in the grappling aspects of MMA, showing good control on top and possessing a solid submission arsenal. That should serve her well in this fight since Eye’s much more limited in this area.
Eye is good on the feet though and if she’s able to keep it standing she could well outstrike Tate. She may have some initial success here in that regard, but Tate will become relentless in pursuit of the takedown and I think it’s only a matter of time before she gets the fight to the mat and starts to dominate, and she might just be able to produce a late submission stoppage here.
Miesha Tate to win by submission in Rd3.
Edson Barboza vs. Paul Felder
We’ve got a potential barnburning battle of lightweight strikers here. Barboza has been a potent force in the lightweight ranks for some time and his best weapon is undoubtedly his kicks, with his strikes to the legs being a particularly brutal component of a diverse offensive output.
Barboza certainly as the experience edge at the highest level, but Felder has impressed in his unbeaten 10 fight career to date with a very sound striking game of his own and there’s less defensive holes in his game than his opponent.
Both men enjoy throwing in spinning attacks with devastating consequences, so either could end the fight on a moments notice. I’m tempted to pick Felder, he’s a real prospect in the division, but he’s untested at this level of competition and while Barboza has faltered at times, in a fight where he doesn’t have to worry about being taken down I feel he should be at his best and might just edge the action in a hard fought battle.
Edson Barboza to win by decision.
Takanori Gomi vs. Joe Lauzon
Two tried and tested lightweight veterans who’ve perhaps seen better days battle it out in the opener on FOX tomorrow night.
Gomi still packs a serious punch, but he’s not the most versatile striker out there. Lauzon a decent boxer offensively, but particularly in recent fights his defense has been suspect, tending to just cover up and wait for his opponent to stop punching rather than utilizing movement and counter-striking.
That’s a real concern, but on the other hand Lauzon is the smarter fighter of the two and has a significant advantage on the mat. I feel he has the kind of crafty submission game that could put Gomi in real trouble, so I do favor him to come out on top here via tapout.
Joe Lauzon to win by submission in Rd2.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Tom Lawlor vs. Gian Villante
Danny Castillo vs. Jim Miller
Kenny Robertson vs. Ben Saunders
Bryan Caraway vs. Eddie Wineland
Daron Cruickshank vs. James Krause
Andrew Holbrook vs. Ramsey Nijem
Jessamyn Duke vs. Elizabeth Phillips
Zak Cummings vs. Dominique Steele